The kraft process remains the dominant method for chemical pulping in the world and has been suggested as the basis for multiple biorefinery concepts. The kraft process suffers, however, from alkaline degradation of carbohydrates, particularly of hemicelluloses, which is especially concerning for biorefineries. This has further been aggravated by the ban on anthraquinone additives. The main topic of my research is to develop the use of sodium dithionite as an additive to combat this degradation.
In addition to preventing alkaline degradation of carbohydrates, we are interested in developing additional understanding regarding the nature of this degradation. We are also developing methods of atmospheric cooking using glycerol, initially as a research tool, but possibly also as a novel cooking process.